Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Forgotten Bands Of The 70s-Mom's Apple Pie

For winter in Iowa, we haven't gotten jacked in the jaw with anything heavy yet.  No major ice storms, or blizzards and the November ice chill gave way to a above average December and a January thaw that lasted most of the month.  Which meant some bargain hunts that I wouldn't usually do.  Waterloo continues to be a bust despite finding Steeleye Span Story and even Iowa City/Coralville was less than impressive although Record Collector had some interesting things from the likes of John Hammond, The Best Of The Blues Project, The Allman Brothers and a autographed Little Feat for 4 bucks.

But now that I got that out of the way, I remember finding something interesting at Goodwill in Iowa City a few years ago or some Goodwill: a copy of Mom's Apple Pie,  a band that got signed onto Terry Knight's Brown Bag label.  Knight being at one time Grand Funk Railroad's manager and guru till a severe falling out happened, but he managed to convey United Artists Records to sign off on a flagship label which Knight would sign some rock bands.  Only four come to mind, John Hambrick, Wild Cherry a band featuring Donny Iris and future Molly Hatchet/Foghat guitarist Bryan Bassett, Faith (whoever they were) and a 10 piece horn driven band by the name of Mom's Apple Pie. Led by the vocals of Bob Fiorino and Tony Gigliotti they scored a FM hit with Dawn Of  A New Day and  a cover of Mr Skin (the old Spirit song). But basically MAP was a cross between Chicago and Blood Sweat And Tears.  And they made two albums for Brown Bag Records.



I found the record at Goodwill and stashed it away but to show you how out of whack I was, I never knew how controversial the album art really was and didn't pay much attention to it until a conversation with somebody on a music page said the artwork was damn near pornographic.  The sly Nick Carluso's artwork depicting a horny looking Walton girl, holding a juicy apply pie to which if you look closely at the sliced piece, it depicts a vagina of all things!  The local K Mart and Woolworths would not have such a thing in their record bins so a different picture was put up, the pie with a brick wall,barb wire and two cops peeking in through the window while Momma' has tears on her face.  Even with the banned cover the album doesn't command high prices, but then again I got mine for a dollar thirty eight.  10 piece horn bands may have been the rage back then but in this day and age not cost effective and for the most part, MAP does come in a distant third behind Chicago and Blood Sweat and Tears, although I think they were better than of another horn driven band I know of, Lighthouse.  But both their debut and the next album (#2) had some fine moments on them.  But they are the product of the 70s and it sounds like it. 

But I'm glad I have it in my collection of records.  But what I know now is that what seemed to be simply artwork turned out to be a banned cover, but who knows,  This record I had is a cut out before it got donated to Goodwill and whoever sold it at the time probably never knew of the offending photo as they stuck in in the 1.99 section.  Mom's Apple Pie pretty much disappeared after 1973 and after Brown Bag Records folded and United Artists passed on them.  But if you ever do come across the album, be it the nice cover or dirty cover, it's worth a listen and fits in with the times of the 70s and horn driven rock and roll.

Upon a second listen, I actually come to find that side 2 is much more stronger songs and the arrangements true to form on the Spirit cover Mr. Skin.  In the end I believe it's my favorite track off this album.  Dawn Of The New Day does give Blood Sweat and Tears a run for the money and Happy Just To Be gives me visions of The Spiral Staircase.  Producer Ken Hamann who also helped shaped the sounds of Grand Funk Railroad gives it a nice punchy sound as well.  For a 10 piece band from Warren Ohio, they held their own against the likes of BST, Chicago and Lighthouse.  And did quite all right.

Mom's Apple Pie No. 2 (1973) has more of a Chicago vibe with 3 Dog Night vocals. High moments tend to be the extended jams of Rain or My Times but my favorite track is Every Mother's Son. Given the overall performance, it's pales slightly to the first album but still worth a listen if you come across it. 

7 comments:

Larry said...

Great article...

I was the manager of this band...

Larry Patterson

R S Crabb said...

Hi Larry
Thanks for reading. They really did a fine cover of Mr. Skin. Cheers!

wpenniall said...

They did two great albums. In fact I probably prefer #2. I rate them as equal with Chicago and BST. Great music, and 40 years later I still love it. Maybe that makes me sad but to me it is great music, albeit a bit dated by today's standards. I first bought a copy in Australia in 1973, but unfortunately the band was and remains largely unknown in Oz.

On Wikipeadia, there is a comment re releasing the unreleased third album on CD. I can't wait so if anyone has any update re this, please let us know !! ( wpenniall@hotmail.com)

Larry said...

I have decided not to release #3 on CD..
However,.....I can upload all 8 songs from the 3rd. LP

Thanks
Larry Patterson

R S Crabb said...

Thanks for the update Larry!

Forgot all about the 2nd album. But I do love the first album.

Thanks for stopping by with the updates!

Larry said...

You are welcome..

Larry said...

wayne penniall.......Your 8 songs from MOM'S APPLE PIE #3...have been uploaded to you.

Hope you enjoy them......

Thanks

Larry